Dr. Binay Shah’s journey – from middle class family to a leader in global oncology

NL Today

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: Nepal’s medical community is currently embroiled in a significant debate over the phenomenon of brain drain, which refers to the migration of healthcare professionals in pursuit of better living standards. This issue is seen as increasingly detrimental to the country, particularly as many Nepali doctors who go abroad could have been pivotal in advancing Nepal’s healthcare infrastructure and training future medical professionals.

Among those contributing positively despite the brain drain is Dr. Binay Shah. Unlike many, Dr. Shah has leveraged his success abroad to benefit his home country. After completing his MBBS at the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, Dr. Shah moved to the United States in 2003 for further studies, eventually specializing in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology. Over two decades, he has practiced in various hospitals in the United States.

Dr. Shah’s commitment to Nepal remains unwavering. Early in his career, he founded the Binayatara Foundation, which has since facilitated the establishment of Nepal’s first bone marrow transplant center in Civil Service Hospital and supported numerous patients with blood diseases. Together with his wife Tara, Dr. Shah envisions creating a comprehensive cancer hospital in Nepal’s Madhesh province. Starting with a 25-bed facility in Janakpur, they aim to expand to a 200-bed hospital, enhancing cancer care accessibility.

The foundation is a leading global health non-profit focusing on improving access to cancer care in resource-poor communities. The foundation’s other efforts include the establishment of palliative care programs in Nepal and India, cancer awareness campaigns, and an annual international cancer conference in Janakpur, drawing expertise from prominent American physicians. Despite initial challenges, including financial constraints and skepticism from potential supporters, Dr. Shah’s dedication, inspired by Mother Teresa, has led to significant achievements in healthcare and education in Nepal.

Dr. Shah’s journey from a middle-class background to becoming a prominent hematologist and oncologist and a leader in the field of cancer care disparities and global oncology underscores his deep-rooted desire to contribute to societal well-being. His work, particularly in cancer treatment and education, reflects a profound commitment to improving lives in Nepal and beyond, challenging the notion of brain drain by demonstrating the impactful return of expertise and resources to his homeland.